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Why do women live longer than men?

Lora Helm (2022-04-22)


Everywhere in the world women live longer than men - but this was not always the case. The available data from rich countries shows that women didn't live longer than men in the 19th century. Why do women live so longer than men and how does this benefit increase over time? The evidence is sketchy and we only have incomplete answers. We know that behavioral, biological and environmental factors all contribute to the fact that women are healthier than men; however, we aren't sure how much the influence of each of these factors is.

It is known that women live longer than men, regardless of their weight. However this isn't due to the fact that certain biological or non-biological factors have changed. The factors changing are numerous. Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often. Others are more complex. For example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, ماذا يحدث بين الزوجين في الحمام بالصور so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women's longevity disproportionately.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men
The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. We can see that all countries are above the diagonal line of parity - this means in all countries the newborn girl is likely to live longer than a new boy.1

The chart above shows that, while the advantage for women exists everywhere, the global differences are significant. In Russia women are 10 years older than males; while in Bhutan the gap is just half an hour.

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The advantage for women in life expectancy was less in countries with higher incomes as compared to the present.
Let's take a look at how the female longevity advantage has changed in the course of time. The following chart shows the gender-based and female-specific life expectancy at birth in the US from 1790 to 2014. Two points stand out.

The first is that there is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

Second, there's an ever-widening gap: female advantage in life expectancy used to be very modest however it increased dramatically over the last century.

Using the option 'Change country from the chart, you are able to check that these two points are also applicable to the other countries having available information: Sweden, France and the UK.